It was a weird kind of day

I’m not sure how to explain the kind of day I had today. There wasn’t much that really happened, so there’s not much value in going over the events of the day. Of course I haven’t heard a peep from my wife, who is still playing the childish, fingers-in-her-ears, I’m-gonna-ignore-you-and-hope-you’ll-go-away game with me right now. And of course I still continued to reach out to her.

Instead, what struck me about today was the general oddness of its energy. It’s kind of hard to quantify. I was feeling kind of low for some reason. That happens from time to time. I looked at my wife’s blog, which has been mostly dormant since this crisis erupted 6 months ago, and she posted a picture of a bee on an apple blossom. Okay… Guess I was just looking for any evidence there that things might be starting to get strained, although that would be the last place I’d find that.

What I did have plenty of today was barking. Barking, barking, and barking. Our dog is a herding dog and is typically very vocal, so that shouldn’t be unusual. Yet since my marital crisis began 6 months ago, it now occurs to me that the dog has been unusually silent. She just isn’t barking at all sorts of things as she might do when my wife and I were under the same roof. I attribute that to a sort of doggie depression. Today was different. She was very vocal again, and in some unexpected ways. She’d go into her crate, and then bark. She’d go into the bedroom, lie on the floor, and then bark. She’d come into the living room and bark some more. Sure, there were some dogs outside that she could hear, but nothing out of the ordinary. It just all seemed so random.

Dogs are able to sense things that we do not typically pick up on. One of the first things that crossed my mind was that perhaps there was going to be an earthquake. Dogs will do odd things before an earthquake. As a child, I distinctly remember watching one of our dogs circle around in the back yard in an uncharacteristic way about an hour before an earthquake hit. But there was no earthquake. So, I’m not really sure what it was. Maybe it was just a general energetic sense she had of things not being quite right. But it was odd. It wasn’t brief, either. She behaved that way for a couple of hours.

Perhaps you’re wondering what’s up with the photo I chose to feature with this post. It is a bit incongruous, I admit. There’s nothing to it, really. My parents are headed overseas next month and have asked me for some sightseeing advice. I found this picture of a British Airways 747 flying overhead and was reminded of a visit my wife and I made to London a few years ago. We were only there for a few days, as it was a business trip and I brought her along, and she wanted to shop, shop, shop. I wanted to get her to do some sightseeing, and she seemed only to be interested in the insides of stores. This is part of the give and take of marriage. What ended up happening was that my wife realized in the end that we had one day less in the UK that she thought we’d had, and suddenly realized why I was trying to get her to visit at least a few monuments. Then came the apologies… followed by a compromise: I will take you to sightsee in this particular area and make sure that we can stop by the Laura Ashley shop.

Well, that was then and this is now. I’m here in the comfort of my living room, and she is still holed up at Camp What’s-It-There, some 40 miles from here. Honestly, I never believed she’d actually do it, that she’d move in with the adulterer, but it is totally consistent with her abnormally dysfunctional energy. She has a “new path,” a newfangled “life mission” or whatever, and there’s no way she can be wrong about that. It’s a “life transformation,” according to her. Mmmm-hmmmm. Transforming oneself into a destructive, immoral person is not really something to be bragging about, I think.

“The affair always ends.” That was the advice I got, and have been given over and over and over again. “You just have to wait it out, and let it run its course.” So that’s what I’m doing. I’m waiting and waiting. I’m working on myself and reaching out to her. I’m doing as much as I can and being as right as possible in doing it, over and over. Meanwhile she’s behaving like a drug addict who is dialed in to a source for a constant fix right now. I know she’s going to snap out of it pretty soon, that the goggles are going to come off, and that the affair bubble is going to burst. I’m just getting seriously tired of waiting.

Everything you could ever want is present right in this very moment

I just got home from the grocery store. I had to buy some chicken wings, you know? Our dog is a raw-food dog, and that’s been a staple of her diet since she was a puppy. We were out of them, and she was hungry, and so a trip to the store was called for. Add to that some granola for the morning, a new candle, some incense, and it’s a complete shopping trip.

Something odd happened as I exited the grocery store. They were playing the Bee Gee’s old hit tune from 1979, “Tragedy,” and I decided to stop by and look at the magazines on my way out. They had the usual yoga magazines, cooking magazines, etc., and I stopped to look at the new Cucina Italiana. We had a subscription for a while. It was a gift for my wife. She loves Italy and Italian cooking. So do I. I had my groceries, though, so I headed out the door.

As I walked out into the parking lot, the sky was grey, it was dusk, and there was a cool breeze blowing. There was not much activity in the parking lot, and the energy was very calm. This was the cool, clear sense of vajra energy, I think, and I just kept walking, feeling the energy of the air, the sky, the earth, and the encroaching of the night. In a way, it was really a profound experience. I almost started to cry right there in the parking lot, because it was so beautiful in its own way.

Now that doesn’t make sense. Here I am, in the midst of a six-month crisis, trying to nurse my marriage back to health, and somehow things seem perfect. Then I remembered a statement that Reggie Ray made not too long ago. If you don’t know Reggie, you can click the preceding link; he’s a Buddhist teacher and a profoundly insightful individual. I can’t give you the quote verbatim, but the thrust of it basically was that, if you are truly mindful, you’ll find that everything you ever could possibly want to be present right here, right now, in this very moment. I don’t think I ever began to understand that, but tonight I had a tiny glimpse into what that means. You have to drop your defenses. You have to drop your ego-clinging and its attendant narrative. You have to just let go. When you do that, you can then see things as they are, and that is perfect in and of itself.

This might not mean much to those of you who are not dharma practitioners, but I’ll share it anyway. I am just reminded of a song that was composed by Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, one of the great living masters of Tibetan Buddhism. Khenpo Rinpoche spent the early part of his life as a wandering yogi who traveled the land in Tibet, taking whatever teachings he could, practicing in caves, and so on. Teachings in the yogic tradition were often given in the form of song, and this one is no exception. We sing it often in my lineage, including every Sunday during our weekly Green Tara practice. It’s called “All These Forms,” (you can hear it here) and the text is as follows:

All these forms–appearance-emptiness
Like a rainbow with its shining glow
In the reaches of appearance-emptiness
Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every sound is sound and emptiness
Like the sound of an echo’s roll
In the reaches of sound and emptiness
Just let go and go where no mind goes

Every feeling is bliss and emptiness
Way beyond what words can show
In the reaches of bliss and emptiness
Just let go and go where no mind goes

All awareness–awareness-emptiness
Way beyond what thoughts can know
In the reaches of awareness-emptiness
Let awareness go–oh, where no mind goes

Not that I feel particularly enlightened tonight, but I think I got a tiny sliver of what this song means.

This blog is my therapist

I’ve never done therapy sessions, and kind of find the idea of sitting down and talking things through with a therapist a bit weird. But I seem to have no problem doing something similar — sitting here and typing things down, the kinds of things I might tell at therapist — and I find that not weird at all. Maybe it’s just me that’s weird.

I’m sitting here, it’s Friday night, my wife is somewhere else, I don’t know what she’s doing, and I’m home alone. It’s times like this when I really do miss her. I mean, I miss her every day, but right now I really miss her. She has been my constant companion for over eight years. I just thought of this, even — we started dating a bit over 8 years ago, and it was in April 2004 that I realized that I’d spend the rest of my life with her.

Now that’s weird. I never would have thought back then that 8 years later I’d be facing a crisis with the woman whom at that time I’d decided I would spend the rest of my life with. That thought never crossed my mind. It never occurred to me that she would be unfaithful to me. The guy she dated previous to me had been unfaithful to her, and so maybe I thought she was inoculated against that somehow. Then again, it never occurred to me that marriage would be hard. I remember all sorts of people telling me it would be, but I just had no frame of reference, and kind of thought that maybe they were joking. I remember one guy at a party coming up to congratulate me, saying, “the first 31-1/2 years are the hardest; I should know, I’ve been married 31-1/2 years!”

Looking back on that time, those heady, early days, one thing has not changed for me. I still intend to spend the rest of my life with her. That intention was briefly derailed when I discovered her infidelity, but then it blew over in a day or two. She, on the other hand, is still stuck in the mire of the adulterous situation. It clouds everything she says, does, thinks about, plans, and dreams. I can imaging that it must get tiring, living in such an unreal world — a world beyond problems, beyond daily concerns, beyond the actual trials and tribulations of life. It’s a narcissistic world, where the adulterous partners see exactly what they want to see in each other, and ignore everything else. They avoid all of their insecurities of their own imperfections by making the adulterous partner out to be perfect, and this person does the same for them. The real insecurities that manifest get projected onto others, like the betrayed spouse. You see how it goes?

I know it’s tiring for me. Very, very tiring. This whole mess is so totally unnecessary. And so utterly childish. We are back to the incommunicado game again. That will persist until next week, most likely. I keep hoping for some sort of divine or mundane intervention (or both) that will put this nonsense to a stop.

There is at least one person who could do this, actually: her father. He seems to be hanging back and watching from afar. I’m not sure what to think of this. Perhaps he feels humiliated by his daughter’s behavior. None of the members of my wife’s family have reached out to me, although they have reached out to my parents and to my sister. I’m not sure what to think of that, either.

So here we are. I just did the calculation. It’s day 200. Two hundred days since all of this madness began. Two hundred days is a long time to be living a fantasy life. It’s a very long time to have been suffering the juvenile impetuousness of a wayward spouse. But, that’s my karma, and I just have to take it, for now.

Before I wrap up here, let me just explain the featured photo for this post. There is a tulip festival not too far from here, and we’ve been a couple of times. We didn’t make it last year, but two years ago we did go, and that’s where this picture was taken. My wife loves tulips, and has planted a number of them all over the place. They are all pretty much in full bloom right now. I know she would love them if she saw them, but she just doesn’t come around here these days. I occasionally snap a photo with my cell phone and send it to her.

And now, as I wrap up this post, reminding myself that this blog is my therapist, I hear the words of my marriage coach echoing in my ears: “Her path is crumbling… Over the next couple to three weeks [the adulterer] will tire of her antics and will reject her.” I know he’s right. I know he’s right. I know he’s right.

Communicado

The unexpected happened today. I called my wife just to make my presence felt in her life. Nothing important to say, just some sort of silly, frivolous message, basically what I’ve been doing for months now. Each time these go straight to voice mail. Not today. When I called this morning, she answered. I was gobsmacked. I delivered my silly little message, she chuckled and basically had no idea why I called. Then I said, “Talk to you later, sweetheart. Bye.”

I honestly have no idea why today of all days she decided to answer the phone. There has only been one other occasion in the past 3 months that she has answered the phone when I called like this. Every other time I have spoken with her on the phone had to do with some sort of logistical issue. Yes, this is childish behavior: I’m going to pretend not to hear the phone ring, and just ignore you in the hopes that you’ll go away. Now, when someone keeps ringing you faithfully, day in and day out, months on end, do you thing that’s going to stop? Seriously.

Later in the afternoon I called her as I was arriving at the office. Again, I had nothing important to say, just a silly message about the person who served me at the coffee shop. And once again, she picked up. I delivered my silly message, she chuckled, and then I said “bye” and hung up. Honestly, this is unprecedented. She does have caller ID on her cell phone, and could easily tell it was me.

Now I know you might be thinking that calling someone every day for months on end is pestering, especially if you do it several times a day like I do. Or maybe you might think it’s some sort of weird, obsessive behavior. I have come to know these strategic communications as “talk charges”. They really are strategic communications. The obstinate spouse simply wants you to play by their rules, and this means that you should just go away. They’ll do all sorts of things to get you to stop, too. One of the most childish methods is to ignore you by not answering the phone. But it is this kind of persistence, phoning every day, regardless of the response (or lack thereof) that actually does change the momentum in a troubled relationship.

I remember the early days, before my wife and I were even dating. She was going through a difficult break-up, and she was leaning on me as a friend. The only problem was that I lived over 100 miles away. So she would call. Or she would text. This would happen pretty much every day, and sometimes several times a day. Did I find this annoying? Sometimes, like when she would text me around midnight as I was trying to get to sleep. But most of the time I just found it endearing, and not a little bit flattering, too. I figured that this girl must really like me or something if she keeps calling me over and over — especially when I live nearly two hours away.

So what now? Oh, I don’t know. I called one final time tonight, and it predictably went straight to voice mail. I say “predictably,” because she is back at Camp You-Know-What. I know she’s back there, even though I have no proof. I’d bet you dollars to donuts that, if I drove up there (which I won’t do, of course) I’d find her there. She won’t be back in town again until next Wednesday, so I can probably expect the rest of my calls to go straight to voice mail. After all, she’s not going to want the adulterer to know she’s talking to me, right?

One thing I do know is that these repeated calls, along with every thing else I’m doing, is eroding her walls of resistance. My attitude is simple: she’s my wife, and I’m going to behave toward her in a way that is consistent with that fact.

I guess I’ll just have to be patient to see how things evolve.

Trouble in Paradise

Gosh, Al Jarreau, where have you been all these years? I’m thinking 1980s now, you know, this song:

The lyrics toward the end, in case you don’t know them, go like this:

May you always have somebody to depend on
And may your days be celebrations
And may there always be an angel on your shoulder
To help the awkward situations
And if you love each other
You’ll never need another love
When the whole wide world has finally got you down,
She’ll still be around
When it looks like trouble in paradise
When you’re burnin’ love that’s cold as ice
Go out and find a flame
So you can warm it up again

Go, Al, go! Actually, I kind of know where he’s been all these years. A college buddy of mine played in his band not all that long ago. But I still have a special fondness for his music after all this time.

Where am I going with all this? Well, first, let me explain the seemingly incongruous picture that goes along with this post. Yes, it’s a tomato, one from our garden a couple of years ago. In Austrian German, a tomato is known as “Paradeiser,” coming from “Paradeisapfel,” or “apple of paradise.”

With that out of the way, I’ll get to my story. My wife called me this morning to arrange the doggie drop-off situation. I left the house early to hit our favorite bakery to get a couple of pastries, as I was pretty sure she would not have had any breakfast yet. (She is not a morning person; the adulterer is — don’t ask me how I know this, but I do — and therein lies a key incompatibility.) I managed to get home in time to make some coffee, and figured I’d bring my wife a homemade latte, which I loaded into a thermal cup. I left about 10 minutes before her expected call time, and just as I was in range of the acquaintance’s house, she called. I told her I’d be there in less than 5 minutes.

I pulled up and got out of the car. She was waiting for me, and opened the door as I arrived. I gave her a hug and a kiss. No, I don’t ask for permission. She is my wife, and somehow she assents to this at this stage. The dog seemed tired and very gentle. I think this crisis has been hard on her, too. She clearly does not seem to like being at the adulterer’s place and that’s not surprising: this is her home, and she really just wants to be here. In fact, whenever she comes back from these extended stays at Camp What’s-It-There, she sleeps really hard, and for a long time, as though she is relieved to be done with a stressful situation. I loaded the dog into the car, and off we went, headed downtown to drop my wife off at the bus stop.

My wife’s energy was very interesting: it was very open and warm. It was certainly not the typical obstinate spouse energy, which might be cold and full of rejection. My sister suffered a serious loss this last week, as a friend of hers passed away, and my wife knows about this. She asked about my sister, as I’d asked her to pray for my sister if she felt so inspired (she did) and I told her that it would have to wait until we were parked, as it was a pretty emotional situation. In the meantime, the conversation was very positive.

Once we were parked, things got more serious and emotional. It’s not easy losing a friend from your life. In this case, this was my sister’s friend, but this friend was very much a fixture of her life back in our high school and college days. It was very upsetting to me to see how sorrowful my sister was; she’s had a lot of loss this year, as her husband’s mother and grandmother both passed away in the past 8 months. And now this.

So, we chatted a bit longer, and then she needed to catch her bus. I gave her a small brown bag with mail that had come for her in the past week. There wasn’t much, just one letter. I put a little postcard in there as well that thanked her for offering prayers on behalf of my sister. This seems to have touched her. Right after I had gotten home, she texted me to thank me for the ride, and to say that she understood both my and my sister’s pain, and would continue to pray for my sister. I thanked her for that sentiment, and that was that.

It’s weird, you know? I have a wife who is shacking up with an adulterous partner, and so many of the outward signs would seem to contradict this, but I just have a very strong sense right now that she is really close to wrapping up that adulterous situation. I don’t think she sees it, and it quite possibly will happen in a rather spectacular fashion, but happen it will. I just have far too strong a connection with her for her to just walk away from our marriage stone cold. Part of her probably realizes that.

A lot has been said by various experts about the importance of visualization in realizing your goals, and I do think that this is a very useful exercise. Certainly visualization is part of my spiritual path. But sometimes it’s hard to visualize the goal and instead we might do better by using another sense faculty, like hearing. So I’m going to ask Al Jarreau to help us out one last time. Hope you enjoy it — and those Miami Vice-inspired pastels…

Getting tired

I think the thing I look forward to most in writing these posts is selecting the pictures that go along with them. These are mostly all pictures that my wife has taken at various times; some have special memories attached to them, some do not.

With that said, I find myself without much to say tonight. I’m just getting tired. This crisis is really starting to wear me down. I was told at the outset that it was going to be a marathon, and that I’d need endurance. I just did not realize how true that was going to be. It’s been over six months that I’ve been at this, you know. That’s a long time. I’d just like for it to be over, all over, that’s all.

My wife texted me tonight to let me know I could have the dog from tomorrow through Thursday of next week. Then she emailed me tonight to make arrangements for the pick-up. Her tone was quite distant. I just find it so annoying. I have no idea how things will turn out tomorrow. I’ll have some sort of surprise for her. That’s standard. Croissants, probably. I’ll be pleasant, positive, and confident. She will probably look tired, worn down, worried, guilty, and have that cloud of grey over her head. She asked me to pick up the dog at the acquaintance’s house, the same place as last week, and then to drop her off downtown. I have no problem with any of this.

I’m just waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Waiting for the affair to end. Waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And it will end, some day in the near future, sometime, somehow. I suspect that the timing will be totally improbable. But who am I to guess? I’m not psychic. I do have a sense, however, of just how troubled her energy is. I think she’s in a lot of turmoil and pain that is just being covered over with this flimsy veneer of “happiness.” That won’t last. The bubble is getting ready to burst, and all it will take is one good argument.

Anyway, not to bore you with my ramblings tonight. Just enjoy the picture.

Another day, another… day closer to reconciliation

There are times during the process of trying to reach reconciliation that nothing seems to happen. I call this being “in limbo,” and I’ve been in and out of this state a number of times. Right now, I’m back in limbo again.

It never ceases to amaze me just how childish an adult can be at times. My wife’s behavior is really nothing more than that, the adult equivalent of plugging her fingers in her ears, running up to her room, slamming the door shut, and then hiding in the closet. Only the adult version is much more problematic. Adults can rationalize this behavior as normal, acceptable, and even virtuous. They can convince themselves that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with betraying those closest to them, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Sooner or later the destruction becomes evident, though.

I learned today that she is telling people that she no longer lives in this city. She has moved out of town. She considers her official domicile to be Camp You-Know-What. Can you believe this? Two grown adults playing make-believe. Make believe relationship, make-believe family, make-believe life with no problems whatsoever. I hardly ever see her anymore. About all I can count on for the time being is one day a week, when we exchange custody of the dog. Neat, huh?

I guess this is what she meant when she said she’d be moving into an apartment “somehow.” Basically, she lied. There was no apartment, and never was going to be one. She probably just ruled that out once she realized she couldn’t afford it, and then the coward (as that person henceforth shall be known) stepped in to offer an ersatz domicile. I’ve stopped counting the lies. I think I had to stop once they numbered in the dozens. We are probably into the thousands at this point. The constant lies are annoying.

You know what else is annoying? The silence. It’s not deafening, it’s just childish and stupid. I know she gets my phone calls, I know she listens to my voice mails. She has not complained about them for a couple of months now, either. But she still refuses to pick up the phone. Now I know that there are those out there, marriage professionals among them, who would say you just should hold up on the phone calls, limit them to once a day, or not do them at all. I can tell you what’s going to happen if you do that: nothing at best, further separation at worst. I call three times a day, no matter what, and each time it goes straight to voice mail.

Really, the whole situation is just so pointless and stupid at this point. I’ve been dealing with this for six months, and it is starting to get old. I’ve moved on, she’s regressed. Yeah, we know all that already. No need to review all that. I’m just beginning to wonder how much longer I’m going to have to endure. I’ve heard stories of situations that went on for seven, eight, even nine months. I’ve also heard of situations that turned around in three months or less. I know she’ll tire of the life she’s leading sooner or later.

For now, all I can say is that every day that passes puts me one day closer to reconciliation. That can’t be all bad.